Monroe students try 3D printing

Posted by Jacqui Adams on

Originally from the Corvalis Gazette Times

By Andy Cripe

hroughout the state, these businesses can take the form of dog washes, laundry services, garden stands, and school coffee shops.

But Monroe High School students are trying something new for Oregon: a business called 3D Dimensional Dragons, in which they use a 3D printer to create objects such as cellphone stands, ice scrapers, key chains and tablet stands and then sell them.

Brenda Maynard, a transitions specialist at Monroe, said the program not only gives students experience with the software that is used for computer-aided manufacturing in industry, but it also gives them training in presenting themselves to employers.

“It’s a complete service; not only are they getting job skills training they are getting pre-employment skills,’ she said Tuesday morning during a meeting of her class.

Maynard said the Youth Transitions Program is a partnership between the University of Oregon, the Oregon Department of Education, the Vocational Rehabilitation Services and local districts.

“What’s considered success in my program is to have a student employed for three months,” she said.

Maynard said it’s a challenge for smaller schools like Monroe to host school businesses — both because there are more limited options in a rural community and also because the small size of theschool means there is no space for a coffee shop, which is a common venture.

She said the idea of doing a 3D printing business came up in the spring 2015, when program participants toured Nike’s Portland facilities and saw the 3D printers there. They were able to get the business started in December with the help of $1,850 in grant funding.

So far, the six students in the program have sold about $200 worth of printed goods.

“We’re all excited to have a 3D printer,” Maynard said. “Hopefully it’s something that other (Youth Transitions Programs) will be able to imitate. It’s always a challenge to come up with new school-based businesses.”

“It’s pretty fun. It gives us a chance to understand what business is like,” said Cooper Smith, a 20-year-old who has finished high school but still participates in the transitions program.

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